Thursday, yesterday, was activation day for my cochlear implant.
It was all very low key and friendly. Amy was carrying a huge cardboard box when she met us. Once in her room she opened thw box to reveal a very lovely metal briefcase with coloured top and bottom surfaces. Inside the briefcase were several small packages housing bits of the speech processor and coil. Who’da thought it would be so complicated.
Amy the audiologist went through the different part to the CI, how to get the batteries in and out, how to set it up for disposable batteries, how to set it up for rechargeable, how to connect the lead that would go to an MP3 player if I had one, etc etc.
Then once the thing was assembled we tried to clamp it on my head but there wasn’t enough oomph in the magnet, maybe my hair is too thick? So, Amy stuck another magnet inside the coil part and that worked.
Then I and my implant become as one, I was assimilated. Amy connected the speech processor up to the computer and set up the loudest level that was comfortable for me for each channel or frequency on the electrode. The first noises I heard were ok, low frequencies in the range I am used to hearing as the noises became higher it was odd to hear those frequencies. The noises were are series of beeps, which to me sounded like a duck quacking.
I can’t remember the session accurately, the order of things but it was a good place to be. Each channel worked on the electrode. Though in the end Amy switched the highest one off for now as it wasn’t helping the whole hearing process thing.
Amy read through a list of sounds, EEE, SSHHHH, OOOO, SSSS, MMMM, AWWW, asking how each one sounded, and adjusted this and that until I could hear all of the sounds. This is good apparently as it’s not expected that implantees will hear the SSSHHH and the SSSSS at the first session.
With my hearing aid in my left ear and my implant in my right ear it sounds as if I have a radio in my head which echoes the sounds in my left ear, with some added quacks and squawks.
We finished with an audiogram of my right ear, not much change from a couple of weeks ago, except one frequency was around 30dB better, this may be an odd glitch so they will retest in a few weeks.
This was all over in 90 minutes, lunch time so MLM and I headed for a restaurant. You know I could make out what the waitress was saying without too much hassle. Normally I have to ask MLM to repeat everything but this was just fine. Western omelette and home fries with a decaf coffee, and, AND, I hears the waitress say “ketchup” when I wasn’t looking at her. Bloody marvellous. I know it was a guess, but an easier guess than before.
It was chucking it down with rain when we left, so I used my brolly to keep my implanted bonce dry. Damn CI coil stuck to the shaft of the brolly and came off my ear. Also I have a habit of running my hands through my hair which means I keep knocking the implant off. Today I used a hair slide across the wire to hold it in place. I really don’t want to lose this thing. Does anyone have theirs insured??
All in all a successful start. There’s more I could and should write about it, but you know I am really, really drained, and just have no energy to do it.